Psalm 119:161-168

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Sin and Shin
161 Princes persecute me without cause,
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
162 I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and abhor falsehood,
but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous rules.
165 Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.
166 I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
and I do your commandments.
167 My soul keeps your testimonies;
I love them exceedingly.
168 I keep your precepts and testimonies,
for all my ways are before you.

The psalmist begins his penultimate stanza stating princes or civil authorities are persecuting him without cause (v 161a). The Israelite elites cannot keep the psalmist’s heart (mind, will and emotions) from standing in awe of God’s Words (v 161b). The psalmist continually rejoices at His Word like a person who finds great spoil (v 162). The psalmist “values God’s word as others would value the spoils of war, for it is like discovered treasure to one who loves it (D. Estes, Psalms 73-150 NAC, 2019, p. 437). Goldingay is correct when he states, “Finding plunder results from winning a great victory; it is quite something that the psalm can speak of such exulting when threatened with devastating defeat (v. 161)” (Psalms 90-150 BCOT, 2006, p. 439).

The psalmist goes on to contrast how he hates and abhors falsehood but loves His torah (v 163). God’s Word is truthful (see also vv 143, 151, 160) which is the opposite of falsehood. Seven times a day the psalmist praises the Lord for His righteous rules (v 164). “A person of faith gives praise to Yhwh morning and evening, the times of the offerings. A person of great faith might pray a third time, presumably in the middle of the day, like Daniel (Dan. 6; cf. Ps. 55:17), or even in the middle of the night (cf. v. 62). Hyperbolically, the psalmist claims to have given praise seven times a day for Yhwh’s faithful decisions, which again both give direction for life and promise that blessing will issue from following them” (Goldingay, p. 439). The psalmist’s way of living is in worship and verbal praise to the Lord (see v 175). “As he prays during the day and night (vv. 147–148), so his praise for the Lord punctuates his entire day” (Estes, p. 437).

For those who continually love God’s torah they have great and abundant peace, nothing can make them fall (v 165). “Loving God’s instruction yields the reward of great shalom, a rich Hebrew term encompassing well-being, prosperity, and satisfaction in life, for true life comes from loving and living God’s word” (Estes, p. 437). The ESV translates mikšôl as stumble; however, the wording here “does not suggest losing one’s footing in a way that might be momentary, but falling so as not to be able to recover. The psalm again presupposes the image of the way that we walk. For all the hazards of the path, we will be able to walk it” (Goldingay, p. 440). Praise God that Shalom is a Person and His Name is Jesus. Praise God His Word is a lamp to His peoples feet and a light to their path (v 105). Praise God that for those who are in Christ, though they stumble, they do not fall.

The psalmist hopes (looks for) the Lord’s salvation and acts on His commands (v 166). The psalmist is not hoping in vain! He is actively looking and is actively doing the Lord’s commands. “His faith in the Lord prompts his faithfulness to his word, so he practices consistent obedience as he keeps trusting the Lord to rescue him” (Estes, p. 438). The Hebrew literally reads my inner being keeps Your testimonies (v 167a). This is not a shallow commitment and observance, but reaches to the psalmist’s inner most parts of him. Why? Because he loves God’s testimonies and so he obeys and keeps them. “This is what it looks like to love the Lord “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deut 6:5)” (Estes, p. 438).

The psalmist ends this stanza with keeping/observing the Lord’s precepts and testimonies, for all his ways are before Him (v 168). This verse reminds this author of the children’s song “O be careful little eyes what you see.” How often do the people today, believers and unbelievers meditate upon the fact that all our ways are indeed before Holy God; that what we see, hear, say and do are all before Him? “The psalmist lives under the authority of the Lord and his word (cf. v. 4), as his pattern of life aligns with God’s precepts and decrees. He also lives before God, in constant awareness that the Lord sees and knows all that he does. How the Lord evaluates his life is all-important to him, and it prompts him to a life of obedience to the Lord” (Estes, p. 438).

Lord God, times of persecution are increasing all over the world by those who are hostile to You. Lord God give strength and mercy to those who are experiencing persecution; having done nothing wrong, they are persecuted for identify themselves with You. Lord, help those who are in the midst of fiery trails and those who are not to stand in awe of Your Word. Help us to stand in awe of who Jesus is: our Victorious and Overcoming Savior, Soon Returning King and what He has done for us.

Lord, I rejoice along with my brothers and sisters at Your Word. For those of us who are in Christ we know that when we read and meditate on Your Word it is like finding great treasure. Lord, help us to hold, hide and treasure Your Word in our hearts and souls so that it will strengthen us on the day of persecution. Lord God, thank You that Your Word breaks strongholds; gives victory to those who obey, practice and apply Your Word.

Lord God, I absolutely hate and abhor falsehood. Lord God, convict us where we are fake, false and phony. Lord God, You know the last thing this world needs is another fake believer. Lord God, search us and test us, reveal to us where we are on the stray path, where there is deception in us and where we are following lies rather than Your Truth. Lord, may we love Your Word more than the lies and falsehoods of this world. Lord, help us to cultivate a lifestyle of worship and praise to You. May we praise You personally and publicly. Lord, may we praise You in the morning, afternoon, evening, night. May we praise You because we love Your rules. Lord, may we never forget that Your ways bring life and not death. May we be reminded that Your yoke is easy and burden is light. Your Word is not drudgery unlike the colorful sin and deception that this world heaps on its people.

Praise You Holy Trinity that Peace is a Person and His Name is Jesus! Praise You Jesus that for those who are in Christ they know Peace with You, themselves and others. Lord God, for the reader who is not in Christ, Lord may they understand that no matter how good life may be for them or how good they think they are, they have no peace without Christ. Lord God, “Your Law is Love and Your Gospel is Peace” are beautiful and truthful song lyrics. May You use Christmas Carols to encourage Your people and lead others to You. Thank You that You do not let Your people fall and that when we stumble, You are there to dust us off and set us on the narrow path.

Lord God, help us to actively do and apply Your Word. Looking out in hopeful exception for Your Salvation! Lord God, may our souls, our inner beings love Your Word. May our hearts: mind, will and emotions love and seek Your Word. Lord God, may we NEVER forget that we are under Your authority. You know everything that happens to us before it even occurs. Lord God, may we NEVER think that You will dismiss the sin in our own lives while convicting and judging the sin in others. Lord God, may we never forget there is NOWHERE we can go to escape You. This is true for the believer and the unbeliever. Lord God, help us to live our lives as a pleasing aroma to You. Lord God, thank You for this reader. Lead this reader Lord in the way everlasting today and everyday for Your Glory. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

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Blue Collar Theologian

My name is Mandy Sweigart-Quinn, I live in Lancaster, PA and I am a “Blue Collar Theologian.” I love Jesus! I am passionate about His Word (The Holy Bible)! I come alive when I can encourage others in their walk with Jesus (whether by writing or speaking). As a “Blue Collar Theologian” it is my aim to live/practice/work out my Christian hope with sincerity, authenticity and genuineness. As a “Blue Collar Theologian,” I strive to meet people right where they are (“Incarnational Theology”). I graduated in May 2019 from Capital Seminary and Graduate School with a Master's in Biblical Studies. I am a passionate, excited and enthusiastic person! I love flowers, sports and sunsets. Since January 2, 2018 I have had the privilege of being married to Nathan.

55 thoughts on “Psalm 119:161-168”

  1. Hello Mandy!
    I am immediately moved by v161, may I share why via other versions? Some have “tremble” for “stand in awe”.
    “Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at Your word.” World leaders, the writer declares, don’t frighten me but I tremble at Your word! Indeed, he is a man who God esteems! “This is the one I will esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at My word.” (Isaiah 66:2) I want such end days courage and living awe of God’s word.
    There’s so much here but I won’t go on too much! I appreciate the teaching and prayer re v 163, esp guarding and examining our hearts.
    Also important to “hate” falsehood as deception will be rampant in the endtimes. If we don’t hate and abhor it we will never seek discernment to reveal it.
    I do love His word and pray for His power to obey it.
    Press on dear sister! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Lisa!!!!! Excellent point with the “tremble” thank you for sharing this! We are to fear, tremble, standing in awe of Him and His Word alone! I love how you tie in Isaiah 66 with this as well! Amen to wanting such end times courage! We are being prepared for the end whether it is realized or not. Every generation has thought the end was near, but never has a time period before had the ability for the world to see “breaking news” all at one time. The amount of deception and falsehood that surrounds us is unreal and really will only get worse. At times I check out what is being spewed by Progressive Christianity and the NAR (as a way to pray and point people to the True Gospel). As you know Lisa, for the undiscerning it sounds so good. Scripture is twisted in ways that are hard to fathom. God will not be mocked, He will Judge this and it will be swift and it will be severe. I do NOT ever want Jesus to accuse me of bad hermeneutics (biblical interpretation) as He did Satan! Like you, I love His Word and pray for His power to obey and apply it! Love, hugs and blessings!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mandy, your response is very edifying. This glorious study of 119 is the opposite of today’s ‘Christian’ culture. We are at 2 Tim 4:3, “…when men will not tolerate sound doctrine” They will not tolerate us either.
        Lovers of His word will need Him and each other more and more. Thank God,
        “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”

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      2. You are so right about it being a 2 Tim world. I am so thankful for likeminded believers like yourself! Thanking God along with you!!! “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”

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  2. Dear Mandy,
    Thank you for breaking down this passage for our study. I was especially struck by these:
    (1) “As he prays during the day and night (vv. 147–148), so his praise for the Lord punctuates his entire day” (Estes)
    (2) “Loving God’s instruction yields the reward of great shalom, a rich Hebrew term encompassing well-being, prosperity, and satisfaction in life, for true life comes from loving and living God’s word” (Estes)
    (3) “His faith in the Lord prompts his faithfulness to his word, so he practices consistent obedience as he keeps trusting the Lord to rescue him” (Estes)
    (4) “He also lives before God, in constant awareness that the Lord sees and knows all that he does.” (Estes)
    All of which adds up to living life “coram Deo” as the last quote suggests. I love the hopefulness: the psalmist KEEPS TRUSTING. It is ongoing, daily, unreserved, and when he stumbles in his walk of faith, he CANNOT FALL. The LORD keeps him, keeps us.

    Thanks for the prayer, Mandy, and I love this: “May You use Christmas Carols to encourage Your people and lead others to You.” Yes!!!! Amen and Amen. This may be the one time of the year when people can’t avoid hearing the great hymns of Christmas. Let’s all keep praying for this all season long! Grace and peace to you and Nathan, and glory to God in the highest!
    Pax,
    Dora

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    1. Amen, Dora! Yes the Lord keeps him and us! I praise God for this Truth! I praise God that He is faithful. The Christmas Carol part was in my spirit and I am so thankful that it resonates with your spirit as well. Regardless to me what day Jesus was born I am SO thankful that Christ came into the world at the appointed time to save sinners like us. Thank you for your encouragement, love and friendship. Grace and peace to you and K as well!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is something that stood out to me from this stanza; how the Psalmist “given praise seven times a day.” I feel since the pandemic the amount of time I praise God from my reading has increased. May we give praise God that many times a day…even if in passing and quickly.
    Good point about the richness of Shalom as more than just mere peace.
    There is a lot we can learn also from something as simple as a children’s song “O be careful little eyes what you see.”
    As always great prayers with your ending!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The visit went well! Had a long and serious talk with someone but i think it was fruitful! Always a joy to meet with God’s people and encourage someone to step up for Jesus!!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This passage is wonderful- he is in awe of God’s word. He rejoices over it, he finds peace with following it.
    He praises God for his righteous rules, several times – I think usually one would not associate rules with something to rejoice and praise. But the psalmist knows how good they are for him and those very rules walk him in the path of obedience that enables him to live a life pleasing to God.
    Thank you Mandy for taking the time to do these. I know they require time, effort and dedication. May the Lord bless you 🤗🌺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Manu for your thoughts and encouragement! I was hoping to finish today; however, it would be forced and I do not want to force and rush God’s Word. I appreciate so much more the effort you give to the series that you do! I cannot wait to read your post on faithfulness. Psalm 119 has taught me that God is faithful to His Word as such we are faithful to His Word and obeying Him. The faithful are in awe of God’s Word, rejoicing over it. I am reminded time and time again that rules, laws, decrees were life to the people of Israel and not drudgery. I am thankful for you, Manu! It is a joy and an honor to be on this narrow road with you! Love, hugs and blessings!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Man…its so self inflicted and sad. This reminds me of my visit at UCLA at West LA, the nicer part of LA. This trip a few weeks ago I was struck how many homeless are around the parks nearby…and the living conditions. Its so unhygenic…and the amount of waste =(

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  5. Responding to your comment: Drive safe back! The whole leftist allowing defecating thing is so sickening. ANd enablilng of crime too. What you describe sounds like many major urban democrat stronghold right now…LAPD Chief even said don’t violently resist robbers or something like that last month. And LAPD this week spokesman said they can’t ensure protection of tourist. Added to this is crazy leftists who thinks having a possession of firearms is less kosher than crime! I’m glad you live where you live!

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    1. Because of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh we are a left state but outside the cities is a strong and I mean strong rural conservative base. Nathan and I are genuinely praying for y’all. When everything first started nathan really wanted to move us to Idaho or somewhere in the Montana, Dakotas, Idaho, Wyoming area. I said it won’t matter, people will move to those areas in droves. Same thing is happening on the east coast folks are leaving New York like crazy for parts of PA and FL. Not to be political but what really astounds me and in some ways annoys me is these folks flee these areas only to vote the same way they left. I try hard to not be divisive politically but what we saw the last 24hrs requires better politicians and people doing what is required. Everyone wants to scream climate change, how about pick up the piles of trash instead of it floating in the harbor! Jesus is on the move. I have friends in TN and the destruction in KY is real. Lord have mercy!!!!

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      1. I have to confess skid row terrifies me. If God called me to minister there I really think I would be like Jonah and RUN. Chicago is another place I will never go again and that was also years ago. What is happening in major cities is a genuine crime. I agreed with your video that talks about martial law. Oh how people will HATE how that upends their freedoms, choices, movements but we will as a society done it to ourselves. Even so come Lord Jesus!!!!

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      2. Skid Row has become a 50 block dumping ground of people on drugs and mental health issues. The last few years it seems in the name of social justice the city has wanted the people there to spread out everywhere. Man I hope talking about this doesn’t make you not want to visit! It isn’t every part of LA. And also our household we are uh, believers of self defense

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      3. Of course I’m coming to visit! I don’t even know how I stumbled upon the YT videos yesterday!!!! As Nathan would say for those who don’t believe in self defense they clearly haven’t been in environments or situations where defense is necessary. I met a lady in Peru who used to volunteer on skid row and she told me all kinds of stories and I was like this woman is an unbeliever caring for these folks and I am a believer and want to stay as far away as possible. Everywhere has nice and not so nice areas. Praise God there will be a day when all of this madness comes to an end!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Answering your question: Yes I saw the hostage were all freed! I seriously thought the FBI HRT or the military were going to kick down doors getting them but then I remember who is president…and his stance against Bin Laden Raid…and yeah lol

    Liked by 1 person

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